Death sentences handed out for football fan killings

Death sentences handed out for football fan killings
A criminal court has issued verdicts in the case known as the Port Said massacre, in which 74 football fans were killed during a match between al-Ahly and al-Masry.
2 min read
09 June, 2015
The victims of the Port Said stadium massacre have been widely commemorated [AFP]
A criminal court in Egypt's city of Port Said has sentenced 11 people to death over a 2012 football riot that left more than 70 dead and several hundreds injured.

The verdict came at the end of the retrial of 73 defendants in a case that triggered deadly riots in 2013 in Port Said, prompting then-president Mohamed Morsi to declare a state of emergency in the coastal city.

The final verdict on Tuesday sentenced 40 defendants sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and acquitted the rest.

When the case first came to trial, Egypt's First Degree Criminal Court sentenced 21 defendants to death by hanging - while acquitting dozens, including security officers.

The prosecutor-general went on to challenge the acquittals at the court of cassation, which ordered a retrial.

In the Port Said incident on 2 February, 2012, al-Masry fans attacked al-Ahly supporters with knives, clubs and rocks after the match. Witnesses described victims falling from the bleachers as they tried to escape. Hundreds of others fled into an exit passage, only to be crushed against a locked gate with their rivals attacking from behind.

At one point during the riots, the stadium lights were shut off by the authorities allegedly to "calm the situation".

Among those sentenced on Tuesday were Port Said's police chief and another senior police officer, both receiving five-year jail sentences.

Al-Masry's executive director, Mohsen Shettah and a stadium official responsible for the lighting were sentenced to five years in prison.